An understanding of the processes involved in plant succession is pivotal in achieving an effective site restoration. In a former limestone quarry (northeastern Italy), we explored the effects of a technical reclamation on the plant community using changes in cover of vegetation layers and two sensitive plant traits (i.e. exotic status and life span), with a chronosequence approach. Four reclaimed areas of different ages (from 8 to 35 years old) and natural vegetation in the surroundings were investigated with seven permanent plots each, for a total of 35. Changes in vegetation layers and species richness of both exotic status and life span were analyzed by generalized linear (mixed) models. Relations with plant community assembly were also considered, using a multivariate approach. Both vegetation layers and plant traits were affected by the age of reclaimed areas, evidencing the main changes in plant succession. Annual and exotic species decreased toward the mature stages of reclamation and target vegetation, whereas overall plant diversity (species richness) was stable. Our findings show that both vegetation layer changes and plant traits can be used to assess the degree to which reclamation efforts produce results that approach the restoration of a natural vegetation reference. Implementation of management practices aimed at favoring native perennial species (e.g. appropriate seed mixtures, mowing, tree, and shrub planting) could limit weed-control efforts, representing a reasonable trade-off between biodiversity promotion and invasive plant control.

Vegetation structure, species life span, and exotic status elucidate plant succession in a limestone quarry reclamation

Boscutti, Francesco
Primo
;
VIANELLO, Angelo
Secondo
;
CASOLO, Valentino
Ultimo
2017-01-01

Abstract

An understanding of the processes involved in plant succession is pivotal in achieving an effective site restoration. In a former limestone quarry (northeastern Italy), we explored the effects of a technical reclamation on the plant community using changes in cover of vegetation layers and two sensitive plant traits (i.e. exotic status and life span), with a chronosequence approach. Four reclaimed areas of different ages (from 8 to 35 years old) and natural vegetation in the surroundings were investigated with seven permanent plots each, for a total of 35. Changes in vegetation layers and species richness of both exotic status and life span were analyzed by generalized linear (mixed) models. Relations with plant community assembly were also considered, using a multivariate approach. Both vegetation layers and plant traits were affected by the age of reclaimed areas, evidencing the main changes in plant succession. Annual and exotic species decreased toward the mature stages of reclamation and target vegetation, whereas overall plant diversity (species richness) was stable. Our findings show that both vegetation layer changes and plant traits can be used to assess the degree to which reclamation efforts produce results that approach the restoration of a natural vegetation reference. Implementation of management practices aimed at favoring native perennial species (e.g. appropriate seed mixtures, mowing, tree, and shrub planting) could limit weed-control efforts, representing a reasonable trade-off between biodiversity promotion and invasive plant control.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1114406
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